Traynor YCV40 Custom Valve 40 Reviews 5

I bought this amp at Long & McQuade in Langley, BC and paid $670 (CDN)for it. I was looking for a portable guitar amp with the emphasis on portability, as I already own a 2X2 combo + 2X12 cabinet. Its intended use was going to be small jam sessions or small venue gigs with a minimum of setup hassle. I tried all the usual suspects from Fender and Marshall (and I had tried offerings from Vox and Peavey in another store) when the sales person urged me to give the Traynor a try. It was at the very top end of acceptable weight, but despite its 40-45lbs carried fairly easily. I hooked up and played, and played, and played... When I was done, I insisted on trying a Fender Blues Junior because of the rave reviews it has gotten here and because it was slightly cheaper. Sorry, Fender. It took me 3 minutes to realize that compared to the Traynor, the Blues Junior sounded like it had a bad cold. Very constricted and stiff sounding at any volume level as if the speaker was sitting behind a wall. No offense to anyone who likes this particular model - as long as YOU like it for YOUR music nothing else really matters much.

While this amp is loaded with all right features, I would have bought it without any of them, just to get the sweet tone. The clean channel makes a Strat sound like a Strat, yet allows my Les Paul to shine as well, even when moving major air. The output stage/speaker break up pleasingly when pushed hard, yet you can still get great expression at more moderate volume levels. The overdrive channel yields some very useful lead and crunch tones. Extra gain (actually useable) can be dialed in with the included footswitch which also controls channel switching. This little amp sounds so much bigger than it is. 40W of all-tube power driving a 12" "red label" Celestion speaker results in a sweet, vintage quality that is usually only found in overpriced re-issue equipment. The long Accutronics spring reverb has excellent range without any nasty sound artifacts. I could list all the features here, but they are readily available at Noteworthy: - Auto-matching tube circuit maintains bias balance as tubes age ensuring hum free performance throughout tube life. - DC filaments on preamp tubes eliminate hum. - Fully regulated power supply with tube rectifier emulation. - Stand-by operation

Only one thing really: the location of the extension speaker jack. It is hidden from view underneath the amp chassis which makes it somewhat tricky to locate.

Traditional plywood case with plastic covering is solidly constructed. Amp chassis and PCB are well designed and built. The "chicken beak" control knobbies are recessed for protection, but easily manipulated. And yes, the scale/label silkscreening is black on silver and facing towards you, unlike some weird upside-down white on silver control panels I've seen (Fender, Vox, what's up with that?). The front screen is a perforated steel grille with a silver cloth protecting the vulnerable speaker cone. The corners are protected by retro-funky, yet very effective nickel-plated steel corner braces that are nicely rounded. My skin likes that.

Ever since I got this amp, all I wanted to do is plug in one of my guitars and play, instead of endlessly fiddling with knobs and switches (some of them in very expensive packages)in order to chase down just the right sound. I cannot ask for more.

Peter Iden rated this unit 5 on 2002-11-19.

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